I know that gyms are wonderful places to get in shape, but they’re not for me. I love to get my exercise by walking outside. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and I can take my dog. Also, my town of Batavia, Illinois has some marvelous areas to walk: charming old neighborhoods, over 40 miles of Fox River trails, the Fermilab Campus, and a quaint, accessible, historic downtown.
It’s been an unseasonable and welcome spring-like weekend. Even though I love walking in almost any weather, I was eager to take advantage of this warm, crystalline atmosphere to walk, think, and write (in my head).
More so than the benefits of exercise, I appreciate the calm and clarity that walking provides for my writing. And I’m in excellent company. Charles Dickens, Dorothy and William Wordsworth, and Virginia Woolf are just a handful of writers who discovered the advantages of thinking while walking.
The nonfiction writer, Rebecca Solnit, examines the benefits of walking in her excellent 2001 book Wanderlust, A History of Walking. In it is the thoughtful question: “What exactly is the nature of the transformation in which machines now pump our water, but we go to other machines to engage in the act of pumping, not for the sake of water, but for the sake of our bodies, bodies theoretically liberated by machine technology?”
Solnit laments how few people walk any more, and the fact that our cars have become a kind of prosthetic.
I can be as lazy as the next person, and it’s so darn easy to climb into my heated and air-conditioned prosthetic and drive. Yet, once I actually force myself to get out there and walk, I feel as refreshed, and energetic as if I were in a soap commercial. So, come along on my walk with me.
The above is the Clark Island area on the Fox River. Yes, islands in the midwest. Be jealous.
Lovely, sparkling water.
The huntress stalks her prey.
Worry not. The huntress never catches her prey.
Picturesque limestone buildings across the river.
Uh-oh. The lab emerges from her den and sees her shadow. This may mean we’re in store for more winter weather.
The back of these buildings along Wilson Street remind me of a Norman Rockwell painting. Or, it seems like at any moment Stanley Kowalski might come out and yell, “Hey Stella!”
A not great picture of the beautiful Batavia Public Library. Sorry, it was very sunny. Did I mention it was sunny? And springlike? In February?
This is Egghead. I love this sculpture by artist Kim Fiebiger. I especially love his little buckle shoes and his obvious love of reading.
A sculpture of Mark Twain by artist Gary Price also sits outside the library. Twain often looks lovingly at me like that when I’m next to him.
Sometimes, I look lovingly at him, too.
Okay, he looks lovingly at anyone who sits next to him.
The coolest art gallery/studio in all the land.
I love this city.
My husband and I spent last week on St. George Island in Florida. We stayed with my delightful and very generous brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Nothing but walking on the beach, eating fresh seafood, laughing, and reading. I didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I’d planned, though. I took six books with me and just barely finished one. I always do this, take too many books. Like I actually thought I would finish SIX books! It’s a sickness. It really is.